2013 Conference

Download the 2013 program

Developing Computational Fluency with all Elementary School Math Students: An Issue of Rigor and Equity in the Schools Rather than Inequity outside of School
Julie Broderick
The School at Columbia University
New York, NY
An elementary math classroom that develops computational fluency in a rigorous way will provide students with an equitable opportunity to succeed in middle and high school math. When elementary math teachers are knowledgeable about how best to develop computationally fluent students, then families have great confidence in a school’s well-balanced math program.  Families with greater financial resource are less likely to seek outside test prep organizations and private tutors to work intensively with their children, thus allowing for all students to benefit from the same, rich school math program. It becomes a concerning issue of equal access when some students are receiving significantly different outside math instruction from those students whose families are relying on the school for this education. This conference session will examine how elementary school teachers can incorporate this work with number fluency into their balanced math workshop. How can whole class number string sessions and connected homework develop all students’ flexibility, accuracy, and efficiency when adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing?


Students Becoming Socially Conscious Mathematicians
Marty Romero
West Covina, CA

This workshop will examine the meaning of a socially conscious-criticalmathematics pedagogy.   Additionally, a working definition of mathematics will be presented that can be used to help educators implement social justice in their classroom while at the same time engaging students in the practice of mathematicians.  Sample activities, projects, and instructional strategies will be shared that can easily be partnered with the Common Core Standards and its Standards of Mathematical Practices.


Creating a Schoolwide Culture of Math: starting with the adults!
Marcus Hung, Bridget Brew, Crystal Proctor
June Jordan School for Equity
San Francisco, CA

MS, HS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This interactive session will explore the process of establishing a strong foundation for creating a school-wide culture of mathematics. Often other school staff do not realize how their admissions of “I’m not good at math” undermine the equitable practices that we work hard to create within our classroom. The June Jordan School for Equity math team will share their experience of beginning to help fellow social justice educators understand the strong connection between equity and mathematics. This session will help participants begin to think through the practical steps to creating a schoolwide culture of equitable math practices at their own school.


Stereotypes + kids = inequity… and what you can do about it
Alison Park
Blink Consulting
Mill Valley, CA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, PF, UG, GS
We all know the stereotypes: Asians are good at math; girls aren’t. And even though we know better, these generalizations still affect educators and students. In this workshop, participants will learn about stereotype threat and protection, and how we can interrupt those effects to empower all students to learn math without fear that who they are determines what they can achieve. For educators, parents/guardians and students, this session will explore a theoretical framework, practical language and strategies for understanding how stereotypes matter and how intentional intervention can create more equitable learning environments where every student is learning and thriving.


Developing as Social Justice Math Educators in the Neoliberal Era
Mary Candace Full, Miruna Outa-Lascar, David Velasquez
High school teachers
Los Angeles, CA

E, MS, HS, PF, GS, Teacher Educators
This collaborative workshop will focus on supporting the next generation of math teachers passionate about social justice. How can teachers and teacher education programs support new teachers to develop as critical math educators and work in solidarity to resist oppressive education polices opposing this work in schools? Facilitated by students and graduates of a social justice-focused teacher education program, we argue that the next generation of teachers needs to develop as critical math pedagogues and organizers, equipped with skills to fight for social justice curriculum. This workshop encourages the participation of teachers and teacher educators to devise collaborative action steps to be implemented in teacher education and to create a community listserv of educators to support each other in continuing this work.


Developing Children’s Mathematical Agency — to Write the World with Mathematics
Bryan Meyer, Brian R Lawler
High Tech High North County
San Marcos CA

“Learners must see the need for writing one’s life and reading one’s reality.” (Freire 1985). In this session, we will share classroom video of high school students engaged in mathematical activity, in a classroom intentionally designed to foster the sort of mathematical agency Freire encourages. The nature of classroom tasks and pedagogical challenges will be examined.
What is Fair & Equitable Instruction?: Teaching Critical Thinking versus Teaching to the High-Stakes Test
Cassandra Wallace, Chris Flaherty
Boston Arts Academy
Boston, MA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This interactive session will explore the multi-layered issues of teaching students who are required to pass high-stakes tests.  With the increased pressures of NCLB and RTTT, math teachers are finding themselves spending more time on test prep and less time teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills.  According to statistics, students with disabilities and ELL students disproportionately fail such high-stakes tests.  How can we ensure we are providing a quality education to all students (and help them pass these tests) while also brainstorming how we can be a force for change in current legislation?

Who gets pulled over?: Mathematics as a tool for exploring the (dis)proportionality of police traffic stop data
Jessica Hopson
Portland YouthBuilders
Portland, OR

In this interactive workshop, I will share a unit I designed and taught, which explores whether police traffic stop data is proportionate to racial demographic data.  Participants will engage in critical thinking as they work through key lessons within the unit. Through questioning, inquiring, and relating personal experiences, participants will discover who gets pulled over and discuss the meaning and implication of the proportionality of police traffic stop statistics. Finally, participants will offer their feedback on the unit, specifically discussing how they would use this unit to empower students to see themselves as agents of change.

‘I feel so included. For once.’ Engaging and involving PS in a non-deficit way to affect change.
Carolee Koehn Hurtado, Brett Davis
UCLA Mathematics Project
Lawndale, CA

E, MS, HS, PS, Community
Teachers often want to engage parents but rarely are given tools to meet this goal. The ways schools traditionally engage parents are divorced from the mathematics content of our classes. True engagement goes beyond back to school nights and contacting parents solely for discipline purposes.
How might we utilize parents’ willingness to help enhance their child’s success? How can we use the unifying language of mathematics to support parents in helping their students?
In this session, we share some concrete, tested ways to include and engage parents in mathematics classes and provide a space for participants to share and develop ideas for authentic family engagement.

Bringing English Learners into the Math Discussion
Leslie Banes, Rachel Restani
UC Davis
Sacramento, CA

How do we ensure equitable participation for English learners in mathematics? This workshop explores ways to support ELs in joining the class discussion and expressing their mathematical thinking. Participants will increase their knowledge of the research on learning math in a second language and gain insight from interviews with bilingual students. Participants will work in grade-level groups (K-8) to identify the linguistic demands of a lesson on fractions and discuss ways to support ELs in “talking mathematics.” Participants will learn and share strategies to take back to the classroom.

Special Education: Mathematics, social justice, and students with special needs
Theodore Chao, Jessica Hunt, Lauren Schiller
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

E, MS, HS, PS, Community, PF, GS
A gathering designed for special educators and those interested in special education. In this discussion, we discuss ways to implement mathematics lessons and projects using social justice in various classroom situations for students with special needs. We explore different school environments, such as inclusion, resource rooms, and life skills, which students with special needs work in as they learn mathematics. Finally, we discuss the deeper political/critical issues involved with students with special needs and mathematics content, such as the racial and socioeconomic disparities within our special education population, the preparation and support of special education teachers, and current policies such as response to intervention.

Henry’s Freedom Box: A Journey Within and Outside of the Box of Social Justice Mathematics
Diana Erchick, Cynthia Tyson, Phyllis Gorman
Ohio State University at Newark
Columbus, OH

In this session K-8 participants will experience and further explore grade level appropriate mathematics and pedagogy for a lesson and using Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad, by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson. The story is a fictionalized account of Henry “Box” Brown’s escape to freedom by shipping himself in a wooden crate from Richmond to Philadelphia. Size and scale issues regarding the crate, time in transit, and other factors provide the frame for a problem-solving task regarding the box. Participants will be in the roles of both learner and teacher in this workshop session.

Justice for All: Exploring Social Justice Possibilities in the College Algebra, Pre-Calculus and Statistics Classrooms
Patrice Parker, Kori Maxwell, Morgin Jones Williams, Jason Hunter
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA

PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This workshop will address the utilization of social justice lesson plans in undergraduate mathematics classrooms. More specifically, this workshop will explore and build on the importance and use of social justice in college algebra, pre-calculus and statistics. Participants will not only experience an interactive and practical demonstration of social justice in action, but three lesson plans will be provided that can be incorporated in their own classrooms. A collaborative environment will also be fostered where ideas can be shared and concerns can be addressed, which will aid in building the community and propelling the social justice for mathematics movement forward.


Flagway Games
Marquis Lowe, Albert Sykes
The Young People’s Project
Jackson, MS

E, MS, Youth, PS
The Young People’s Project has created board games and physical games that can be played in classrooms, gymnasiums, and playgrounds that capitalize on young students propensity for running, the galvanizing energy of team competition.

Mathematics and Social Change Simple Mathematics Examples that Inspire, Motivate, and Empower
Aris Winger
Georgia Gwinnett College
Lawrenceville, GA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This workshop focuses on a number of real world situations where mathematics plays a tremendous role.  These examples are rooted in events that are cultural, and social in nature while being easily understood.  Such examples include:
I.  Why Barack Obama won (again) and would win again if he could run-Power and Elections .
II.  Why Racial profiling doesn’t work- Why Bayes’ Theorem is easier than we think.
III.  Why Income inequality is deeply tied to innumeracy and how to overcome it.
After the examples are presented, we discuss potential new ones, and how to move forward actively and aggressively.

Powerful Numbers in a Social Justice Algebra Classroom: catalyzing critical thinking, rigorous mathematical learning, and student voice
Alice Cook Henke
University of Maryland
Justin Robinson, Tyler Rogers, Clara Lincoln, David Villatoro Sorto
Capital City Public Charter School

MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, UG
In the Powerful Numbers Expedition, a four-month Algebra 2 unit, students learned the power of functions and data through analysis of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Washington, D.C.  Student learning was mathematically rigorous, based on Common Core Standards, and aligned to the Expeditionary Learning Model.  In this workshop, co-presenters Alice Cook Henke and Seniors from Capital City Public Charter School will engage participants in activities from the unit, examine student work and artifacts, and discuss the ways that this project used student voice, community, and social justice to create a more equitable, engaging, and high-standards mathematics learning environment.


Mathematizing social justice: bringing community, school, and university events into the mathematics classroom
Ksenija Simic-Muller
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA

We discuss two projects assigned in a course for preservice teachers. Students attended a symposium about water and the Tunnel of Oppression, and reflected on the presence of mathematics in both events. Then they wrote mathematics lessons about water scarcity, and used mathematics to argue about a context featured in the Tunnel. In the workshop, we will look at student work, work on some of the lessons, and discuss ways in which community, school, or university events can be connected to the mathematics curriculum. Though the projects were used in a university classroom, they can be modified for other settings.

Walking in another’s shoes: two middle-school math projects that examine social inequalities
Liz Caffrey
Live Oak School
San Francisco, CA

I will show two projects that demonstrate how issues such as race, gender and socio-economic status can be examined through a mathematical lens. In one project, students use census data for income levels based on race, gender, and education level. They must create a budget for a person living in San Francisco with that income (including doing their taxes!). In the second project, students examine voting rights by being assigned a specific demographic in the US and examining how the presidential election would turn out if only their demographic voted. Both projects are designed for middle school students (but could easily be extended to high school) and involve heavy use of technology.

The Two Faces of “Smartness”: Liberation and Exclusion in the Mathematics Classroom
Nicole Louie, Evra Baldinger
University of California Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
In this workshop, participants will consider two faces of smartness – as liberatory and oppressive – in contemporary American discourse. Together, we will examine and experience scenarios in which the label “smart” reproduces hierarchies, as well as scenarios in which “smart” is used to equalize status and highlight the contributions every learner can make to collective learning and problem solving. We will work to re-imagine smartness in math classrooms and generate strategies that educators can use to break down exclusive aspects of “smartness” so that all students have access to rich mathematical learning and to visions of themselves and those around them as “smart.”

Liberating Math Education for Elementary Girls
Nini Hayes
UMass Amherst
Holyoke, MA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This interactive session will help math educators working with elementary girls to empower their students with their own mathematical agency by clueing them into the power of a fixed vs. malleable belief of one’s intelligence based on the work of Dr. Carol Dweck, the power of self-talk, recognizing and unpacking ways girls are socialized to internalize math inferiority and helping to create a math bill of rights and responsibilities.
Participants will experience working in various formats to experience and discuss ways to highlight and sustain the mathematical agency of their female students using example activities and forms of media engaging for students.

Creating Real(world) Opportunities in Urban Classrooms
AJ Stachelek, Sarah Lewis, Soledad Fernandez, Phiola Mcfarlane
Centering the Teaching of Mathematics on Urban Youth (CTMUY)
Brooklyn, NY

This session is presented by high school teachers from the Centering the Teaching of Mathematics on Urban Youth (CTMUY) group in NYC.   Our collaborative professional learning team  explores improving teaching practices, specifically in urban schools.  This session will focus on two related goals: how we 1) become more familiar with the lived experiences of our students and 2) incorporate high-level mathematical tasks in our lessons.  The session will create a collaborative structure for participants to these goals and how they are related. We will also share sample lesson activities for students.

Supporting Gender Diversity among Youth through Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice
Kat Rands
Elon University
Elon, NC

MS, PF, pre-service teachers
This workshop involves interactive discussion of a yet-to-be-implemented plan for a middle grades mathematics project in which students engage with the data from the 2007 and 2009 National School Climate Survey of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to examine how often the participants reported that a student intervened when another student made negative remarks about someone’s gender expression.  Through exploring this data, students learn about proportional reasoning and statistical concepts.  Students then develop their own school survey and formulate an action plan for increasing the frequency of student interventions in response to negative remarks.

Murder by numbers – A critical analysis of the murder rate in Oakland using proportional reasoning as an investigative lens for social justice issues
Tim Weekes
Lighthouse Community Charter School
Oakland, CA

HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS, School Administrators
This workshop will demonstrate a how a social justice approach to presenting mathematics can lead to deeper classroom engagement and increased conceptual understanding. We will investigate the murder rate in Oakland by using proportional reasoning to compare it to other regions in the U.S while comparing the socio-economic data for those areas to create a lens for the students to make a critical analysis of the situation. We will also review data from a preliminary study I did which investigated the mathematical problem-solving skills African-American teenage males.

Thanks to the 2012 Election, Statistics is Cool (again)!
Eleanor Terry
High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology
Brooklyn, NY

MS, HS, Community, PF
This summer, Eleanor Terry received a Fund for Teachers Grant this summer to work alongside presidential campaign statisticians in the predominately Hispanic swing states of Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. Eleanor is committed to her students becoming statistically literate and, alongside her 33 AP Statistics students, conducted Exit Polls on November 6th at polling sites across Kings County- giving her classroom enough data to last the whole year.  This workshop will focus on developing experiential learning through Statistics- where students create their own measurement tools, design their own studies, and write their own conclusions.  Visit www.hstatistics.blogspot.com for more information.

Mathematics Serving the Community:  Empowering Community Organizations with Youth Research
Brad Kohl, Nicholas Thyr, Eden Motto, Daniel Bergerson
Breck School
Minneapolis, MN

HS, Youth, Community, PF, UG, GS
Can math and service learning go together? Mathematics Research empowers promising high school mathematics students, passionate for community service, to use their math skills on behalf of nonprofit clients in their areas of interest.  These pro bono mathematicians volunteer with their organizations, then take on an initiative where they use statistical and analytical skills to create resources and make recommendations, giving organizations the credibility and power of mathematics.  Student researchers will share their experiences and lead participants through activities and assessments they have created.  Participants will work with student leaders to explore ways to create community-based research opportunities for students.

Multiplication isn’t Just for White People:  Strategies to Engage Boys of Color in Mathematics
Terra Holman
George Jackson Academy
New York, NY

E, MS, HS, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This presentation will explore the statistics regarding the mathematics achievement of boys of color (predominately Hispanic and African American boys).  Participants will discuss the inherent traits in boys of color that allow them to have success in mathematics and share lessons, projects, and strategies proven to be successful in promoting their achievement.

Math for Everyone: Promoting Equity for Students with Disabilities
Lauren Schiller
Harvard University
Brookline, MA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
There exists a pervasive view in our society that math is inaccessible to some; people either possess mathematical ability or they don’t.  As such, middle school students with disabilities become so jaded that they realize it is absolutely acceptable to admit, “I can’t do math.”  This workshop will focus on debunking this pervasive societal view by focusing on ways to make math accessible and enjoyable for all.  Areas that will be covered include encouraging a mathematical growth mindset through lessons about the brain, designing thematic units that connect mathematical ideas to the world, and utilizing games to promote confidence.

Math for Social Justice in the Real World
Indigo Esmonde, Dominique Riviere, Joe Curnow
University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
This workshop will focus on activism in the ‘real world,’ and consider implications for schools and communities. The workshop will use the example of a Toronto-based group Stop the Cuts (StC) to examine one case study of how mathematics was done as a part of community activism. Our goal is to use the case study to support a broader discussion of the links between mathematics teaching/learning and community activism. We will discuss ways to strengthen the activist content of schools, and the mathematics content of activist efforts. Teachers, researchers, community organizations, youth and parents are all welcome to attend.

Preparing Teachers to Address Social Justice Issues in the Elementary Math Classroom: Two Perspectives
Joan Kwako, University of Minnesota Duluth, MN
James Clayton, Jersey City, NJ

E, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
Pre-service teachers in two very diverse geographic and socio-economic settings who are enrolled in elementary mathematics methods courses were challenged to prepare lessons that address issues of social justice. The students at the two institutions shared their lesson plans with each other and provided feedback to each other based on their personal experience in terms of what constitutes a solid social justice lesson. In one case, the students had a significant amount of time schools; in the other, the time was limited. Also, in one case, the students were very homogeneous; in the other, the students were quite diverse. The facilitators will discuss the results of their long distance collaboration.

THE FACES OF MATH TALKS – Examining perspectives of mathematical discussions
Rachel Restani, Leslie Banes
UC Davis

Davis, CA

E, MS, HS, Youth, PS, Community, PF, UG, GS
The use of discourse in math classrooms is strongly emphasized in the national reform documents as well as the common core standards that are beginning to be implemented. Because each student is unique, these discussions will also be unique from classroom to classroom. Learn how teachers are currently intertwining the ideas of mathematical discussion and identity. Communicate with other teachers and parents about how to encourage students to talk about math, inside and outside of the classroom. Read researcher’s perspectives on how mathematics should be discussed. Develop a collaborative understanding of how students perceive math in relation to themselves.